Saving Millions by Cutting Red Tape

Cut Red Tape program saves The City and Calgarians millions of dollars and thousands of hours

Program transitioning into daily City operations

Cut Red TapeThe latest update from The City of Calgary’s Cut Red Tape program shows that at least $12.7 million dollars have been cumulatively saved by The City and its customers through over 40 red tape solutions implemented across the corporation. Since the program was first launched in 2011, City employees, citizens, and the business community have worked together to discover and implement ways to make working with The City better, easier, and faster. The program has been managed by The Office of the Mayor and is transitioning to City administration.

“In an organization the size of The City of Calgary, red tape can happen, but it’s our responsibility to foster a culture of customer service that constantly looks for ways to cut back on red tape,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “I’m proud that my colleagues in all departments have succeeded in their efforts to make it even better for citizens and businesses to work with The City.”

When the program first launched, it asked City of Calgary employees to identify red tape in their daily jobs. After that, representatives from more than 13 business advocacy organizations advised on further ways to cut red tape. And in the third phase of the program, The City asked all Calgarians about red tape and the solutions they would recommend to cut it back.

“Rather than giving lip service to cutting red tape, we’re pleased to see The City of Calgary taking tangible, measureable actions in this area,” said Richard Truscott, Director of Provincial Affairs for Alberta, with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business—one of the Cut Red Tape partner organizations. “By helping The City to control red tape, we’ve helped entrepreneurs to stay focused on running their businesses rather than grappling with unnecessary municipal processes. There certainly is more red tape to cut, but we’re encouraged that this program is being integrated into how The City operates.”

More than 40 recommendations to cut red tape have been implemented (with more underway) throughout The City of Calgary. They can all be viewed online.

Five examples:

  1. Made it easier for citizens to use the Animal Licensing website by removing redundant, inaccurate, and confusing information. Citizens save time and effort by having a more streamlined process for licensing their pet.
  2. Made it easier for citizens to report graffiti on City of Calgary public spaces by streamlining the 311 reporting process and adding the service request to online forms and the 311 mobile app.
  3. Made it easier for Calgary Housing clients to make the transition to their subsidized housing unit with no unexpected costs.
  4. Made it more efficient for home designers and builders to submit plans for single houses and duplexes homes by creating easy-to-understand guidelines.
  5. Made submitting and reviewing construction drawings faster and more efficient by implementing eConstruction: an online system that lets builders submit construction drawings electronically so many City departments can review the submissions simultaneously and cut down on the time a customer needs to spend submitting drawings in person.

The transition of the Cut Red Tape program into a permanent practice within The City of Calgary is currently underway and will be complete by the end of June 2015.

“Rather than be a special project, the Cut Red Tape program should be a part of the culture of The City of Calgary,” said City Manager Jeff Fielding. “We are committed to continually improving the organization to be as citizen-focused and efficient as possible, and that includes keeping red tape to a minimum.”

To learn more about the Cut Red Tape program, please visit